Get it Wrong to Get it Right

“Two brilliant scientists with great technological acumen stumble across evidence of the universe’s origin- evidence that would ultimately lead to a Nobel Prize for both of them- and yet their first reaction is: Our telescope must be broken.“- Johnson 139

In this chapter, Johnson proves that one of the greatest forcesĀ of innovation in the world is, strangely enough, making mistakes. Seemingly limitless amounts of inventions, from Viagra to vacuum tubes, were discovered by accident. This raises the question, “Why do schools tend to punish people so harshly for making mistakes?” I went to a kind of competitive private high school, and when it came to tests and grades (especially when taking the SAT and ACT exams) I was taught that mistakes were unacceptable. People got taunted for getting bad grades, for making tiny mistakes or misinterpreting the questions asked. My friends who went to public high school tell me similar stories, if not as extreme. If schools are supposed to teach us to generate ideas, think freely, and live independently, then why do we so aggressively attack something that is proven to be one of the greatest sources of innovation ever, specifically human error? I believe that this is a major problem with our school system today and it needs to be addressed before more people are misled into putting perfect scores before good ideas.

Get it Wrong to Get it Right